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Why do I always fall for deceptive advertising?
I went to the dentist the other week and he gave me a mouthful of fillings. How can this be when I use Colgate toothpaste? My "Ring of confidence" has now well and truly slipped. You see, I used to be Mrs. Gullible, an advertiser's dream. I actually believed the manufacturers' sales ploys, thinking their product would live up to my expectations. But reality is something else.
I should have known better than to be taken in by rash claims and flashy packaging. After all, I did work for counterintelligence at one time (I was a sales assistant in a shop).
The main reason for advertising is to get things sold and sold fast and the more improbable claims made for a product's effectiveness the better the sales figures.
The harsh truth of the matter is this: If manufacturers and advertisers were really honest with themselves, with rival companies and the consumer, we could all trust what we read on the packaging, but life is not like that.
My hair feels like I've poured treacle on it; so much for the hair-spray with the "Non-sticky feel." My "Guaranteed fade resistant" hair colour that states in big bold lettering on the packet: "LASTS THROUGH 21 SHAMPOOS." has faded in less than a fortnight. I haven't washed my hair that many times during the past two weeks have I?
Ouch! My "Non-sting" deodorant hurts like hell and the claim that it's "Non-stain" is also untrue - why are there ugly white patches under the armpits of my new, expensive, silk blouse? And I'm really worried about the breath freshener I bought - who's going to tell me if that isn't working properly?
My non-slip sanitary towel is half-way down one trouser leg and "Wings" only seemed to make matters worse. And as for leak-free nappies, I've had four babies and I've yet to find a nappy which doesn't ooze obnoxious substances, just when you're least expecting it.
Mrs Gullible grows up
But Mrs. Gullible has now grown up; I've become far more cautious of over-enthusiastic claims; the advertiser's dream is now an advertiser's nightmare. Mrs. Gullible is now a rebel, plucking up the courage to phone the manufacturers, daring to complain at the inefficiency of their products. "Are you sure you read the instructions properly?" I'm told by a patronising voice when I ring their free phone number, as if I'm some mindless moron who can't be trusted to open a can of beans. After a lengthy interrogation, which rivals the Spanish Inquisition, my complaint is reluctantly noted. And a few days later I'm sent money-off coupon for the same useless product I've just complained about.
Mrs. Gullibles of the world unite! Stand up and fight for your rights! Manufacturers and advertisers must be told that their "New improved, best ever" product is now complete rubbish. They have only succeeded in making the consumer mistrust them by their deceptive advertising and sales tactics.
A certain brand of well-known biscuit used be covered in thick, delicious chocolate, in fact you could bite off quite a sizeable chunk before reaching the biscuit itself; but not any more. The new, improved version has such a thin coating of chocolate you can see the biscuit underneath. Maybe I notice things too much, but it takes people like me - the reformed Mrs. Gullible - to make a stand.
Does it do what it says on the tin?
Be suspicious of such bold statements as "Lasts even longer" "Better value for money" etc. Chances are the advertisers are trying to con you. The manufacturer’s deceptive advertising campaign will make an impact on your purse. Judge each product on its individual merit and recommend it to others if it does the job. I've discovered many indispensable products which have proven their worth without all the expensive commercial advertising and hype we are all bombarded with. Don't be duped by misleading photographs on packaging either, especially on food items. The camera never lies? Don't you believe it. If a photograph can convince you to buy a "Family sized" pizza which in reality is hardly big enough for two people with reasonable appetites, then the camera can be the biggest liar in the world.
Does anyone really understand TV commercials any more? Especially the ones for cars. Their assiduous message is so subtle it takes me the duration of the advert to figure out what is actually being promoted and even then most reasonably intelligent folk are occasionally left in some doubt. Nowadays I prefer to go and make a cup of tea during the commercial break, bored with the advertisers' banal incitement to persuade me to spend precious money on items I don't really need. Magazines too, seem almost devoid of any real content but are packed with pages and pages of persuasive full-page advertisements for products which will supposedly change our lives for the better. The advertisers, who are pushing the boundaries to their limits, in this, the disposable age, are not concerned if the products they promote don't meet with our requirements or last very long. They've done their job and if the product fails to work on the day after the guarantee runs out - tough. Don't even attempt to get it fixed. Buy another one, they advise us - it's about time you upgraded anyway.
As a consumer, it's better to assume that all advertising is deceptive but enjoy your shopping nonetheless, spend wisely and buy what you need not what the advertising companies say you should have.